Thursday 25 May 2017

Fortune to favour cooper's lucky william

The Irish Stallion Farms EBF Beginners' Chase at Navan tomorrow promises to be an informative affair, with the 2009 Coral Cup winner Ninetieth Minute set to tackle Saludos and Lucky William on his chasing debut.

Tom Taaffe's seven-year-old failed to win in six hurdling starts last season, but for the most part he performed consistently to a decent level. If he translates his best form to the bigger obstacles now, he will be a real danger under Barry Geraghty, but the two-mile trip and lack of chasing experience may give his chief rivals a chance.

The Jessica Harrington-trained Saludos will be all the better for a game effort on his fencing debut at Punchestown 11 days ago. Having made most of the running that day, the Bob Back gelding dug deep in the home straight after being headed, before a bad mistake at the second-last eventually ended his challenge.

While Saludos cannot be lightly dismissed, Lucky William is taken to have both his and Ninetieth Minute's measure. The least decorated of the three over flights, Tom Cooper's charge was in the process of making a highly impressive chasing debut at Tipperary a month ago when over-jumped and fell two-out.

He turned out at Naas at the end of October, and looked to be about to make amends only to be robbed very late by Bill Harney's Kakagh. All told, Lucky William has looked every inch a chaser since switching to fences, and he should belatedly get off the mark now if he enjoys a little more luck than he has done.

Earlier on the card, a number of smart novices are pitted against each other in the For Auction Hurdle.

Four of the eight runners in the Grade Two are last-time-out winners, including Hidden Cyclone, John 'Shark' Hanlon's impressive Tipperary scorer. When the five-year-old took up the running turning in at the Limerick Junction venue on his reappearance, he soon quickened clear, putting the race beyond doubt in taking fashion to maintain his 100pc record.

This will be tougher, but the Stowaway gelding looks a bit special.

Irish Independent

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